Staying Safe On Your Motorcycle
If you are a motorcycle rider, you know that every time you get on your bike you are facing far more hazards than the people with whom you share the road. While drivers often walk away from car accidents without a scratch, motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic, life-changing injuries. Tragically, many of these accidents result in the death of the rider. As a result, it is important to do what you can to stay safe. But if you have been injured in a car accident, the best thing to do is get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you get what you need to recover from your injuries.
Check the Weather
Adverse weather is much more dangerous for motorcycles than for other motor vehicles. While snow and ice may be rare in our area, motorcycle riders should be wary of riding in heavy rain and high winds. Not only can weather conditions affect your ability to handle your bike safely, but they can also reduce visibility and make it harder for other drivers to stop. Check the weather before heading out to ensure that the weather will be clear for the duration of your ride and don’t hesitate to get off the road if the weather suddenly changes. For those who ride their motorcycle to work, keep an eye on the weather for your trip home and arrange for a ride home if necessary.
Wear the Right Gear
Unlike many other states, Florida does not require riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet. That said, wearing a helmet can save your life if you are involved in a crash. As motorcycle accident attorneys, we have seen the difference that wearing the right gear can make. In addition to a helmet, we strongly encourage riders to wear the following when on their bikes:
- Eye protection
- Over-the-ankle boots
- A motorcycle jacket and pants
Wearing a helmet and other safety gear can make a significant difference in the injuries you suffer if you are in an accident. In addition, refusing to wear the appropriate safety gear may be used against you in the event that you need to pursue a legal claim for compensation.
Inspect and Maintain Your Bike
One of the most important things you can do before heading out for a ride is to carefully inspect your bike for any potential safety issues. In particular, you want to check the following:
- Your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals
- Your brakes
- Fuel and oil levels
- Tire pressure
A mechanical failure could cause you to lose control of your motorcycle or be unable to stop at a critical moment. A mechanical failure could also leave you stranded on the side of the road, which is one of the most dangerous places to be.
For these reasons, you should also keep up with maintaining your bike. Replace worn tires and worn brake pads. Replace burnt-out bulbs. Make sure the engine is properly tuned and running properly. Keeping up with your maintenance responsibilities means that your bike will be in good working order when you need it to be and you won’t be tempted to ride when you shouldn’t.
Obey Traffic Laws
To state the obvious, obeying traffic laws is one of the most important things you can do for your safety while riding your motorcycle. This includes obeying the speed limit, traffic signals, and traffic signs.
One of the most common things we hear from the other driver when we pursue a motorcycle accident claim is “I didn’t see them.” Anything you can do to increase your visibility to other drivers is an important step in staying safe. Some of the things you can do to increase your visibility to other drivers include the following:
- Wear “hi-viz” or reflective clothing
- Use your turn signals
- Use your headlight, even during daylight hours
- Stay out of drivers’ blind spots
- Ride toward the centerline of the road or to the left side of your lane
When purchasing a motorcycle, you may want to consider visibility as a factor in making your decision. For example, a brightly painted motorcycle will be more visible than one that is black. However, you can also use reflective tape to make your bike more visible if needed.
This may seem like another obvious suggestion, but failing to pay attention for just one moment can quickly result in an accident. Riders need to pay full-time attention the entire time they are on their bikes. Riders should, of course, primarily pay attention to what other drivers are doing. However, they should also pay attention to road hazards, such as potholes, debris, gravel, or oil spills. These hazards are typically not an issue for passenger vehicles but can cause a motorcycle accident in the blink of an eye.
Keep Your Distance
The more space there is between you and the vehicles around you the more time you have to avoid an accident. This means that you should not tailgate other vehicles, even though you can stop more quickly than they can. It also means that you should be wary of people tailgating you – tap the brakes to signal that they need to increase their distance or simply pull over to let them pass.
Riders should also be mindful of vehicles that are driving erratically or encroaching into their lane. Give plenty of distance to drivers who may be intoxicated, drowsy, or distracted.
Don’t Overload Your Bike
Riders who enjoy touring or riding with a passenger on the back need to be mindful of how the additional weight can affect the handling or stopping distance of their bike. Even if the additional weight is within the bike’s limits, it can still affect how the motorcycle operates. Carrying additional weight means you should increase your stopping distance and avoid situations that will require high-speed maneuvering.
Call the Grife Law Firm if You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
At The Grife Law Firm, we are committed to helping injured motorcycle riders get fair compensation for their injuries. To discuss your case and your options, call us today at 561-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.